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Stage Gate Review Process. © 2010 ~ Mark Polczynski All rights reserved. Integrating project execution and review process Often, project execution and project review are two separate processes.

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stage gate review process

Stage GateReview Process

© 2010 ~ Mark Polczynski

All rights reserved

Stage Gate Review Process

slide2

Integrating project execution and review process

  • Often, project execution and project review are two separate processes.
  • It is desirable to integrate these two processes, because you get: - Better project results, - Better project review decisions, - Faster decisions – projects move faster, - Happier people: - Everyone knows the rules of the game beforehand, - Everyone follows the rules all the time, - Everyone’s expectations are kept realistic.

Stage Gate Review Process

slide3

What Problem We Are Trying To Solve?

  • Example: Eaton Corporation -
  • ~ 10,000,000,000 ~ $10 billion annual sales,
  • Goal: 10% increase in sales per year,
  • Driven by stock market expectations,
  • And stock market is “main customer” in capitalistic system.

That equates to $1B in new products per year – every year!(compounded!)

Stage Gate Review Process

slide4

What’s The Problem We Are Trying To Solve?

  • Need new products that can “move the needle”.
    • Hard to get to $1B by adding $1M at a time.
    • You need 1,000 new products!
    • Significant growth in many small increments is difficult to manage.
    • Many low-impact products are difficult to support.
  • Solution: Fewer high-impact projects.

Stage Gate Review Process

slide5

Possibly the biggest cause for failure of good projects:

  • Under-funding Lack of adequate resources.
    • Inability to ruthlessly focus on only the best opportunities.
    • Inability to identify best opportunities early in life.

Stage Gate Development Process

Stage Gate Review Process

Stage Gate Review Process

slide6

New Product Pipeline

Many Low-Impact Products Out

Many Small Projects In

What’s the MAIN Problem We Are Trying To Solve?

Before: Difficult to manage many small projects.

After: Difficult to support many small products.

Stage Gate Review Process

slide7

New Product Pipeline

Many Small Projects In

Few High-Impact Products Out

What’s do we want to have?

Stage Gate Review Process

slide8

AverageeCOST Per Project

Overall Goal: Maximize Bang-For-The-Buck.

Feed the winners well

Kill losers before you spend lots of money on them

TotalNUMBER of Projects

Early Project Life Late

Stage Gate Review Process

slide9

Many Small Projects In

Few High-Impact Products Out

We must kill many of these projects…

…but how do we discover which are the best?

Stage Gate Review Process

slide10

AverageIMPACT Per Project

Overall Goal: Weed out projects that have low impact.

Problem:We don’t know the winners at the start of their life.

Goal:Survival of the best.

TotalNUMBER of Projects

Early Project Life Late

Stage Gate Review Process

slide11

What about small businesses?

  • It doesn’t matter if you are one of10,000 engineers trying to add$1B in sales for Eaton Corporation.
  • Or Joe of Joe’s Garage Shoptrying to add $1,000 in sales.
  • Trying to grow by $1,000 in$10 increments is hard to manageand hard to support when you are done.

Stage Gate Review Process

slide12

Product Development Stage Gate Process

Stage gate reviews

Stage Gate Review Process

slide13

Technology Development Stage Gate Process

Stage gate reviews

Where projectsget killed!

Stage Gate Review Process

slide14

Stage Gate Development Process

S1

S2

S3

G1

G2

Stage Gate ReviewProcess

Stage Gate Concept is Quite Simple…

Put “Stage Gate Review” decision blocks in the process flow…

Our topic

So, how does a Gate work?

Stage Gate Review Process

slide15

Redirect

Continue

S

S

G

Hold

Kill

All the Gates work the same way…

At the end of each development stage, you hold a stage gate review to determine if you should: - Continue: Go to the next stage, - Redirect: Go back to the previous stage, - Hold: Put the project on hold, - Kill: Kill the project.

Stage Gate Review Process

slide16

G

G

G

Purpose of ALL Gates is to create BOTH of these curves:

Size

Number

This is very simple! So what’s the Big Deal?!

Stage Gate Review Process

slide17

Stage Gate Review Execution:

  • Review is usually a meeting. So -
    • How do you make decisions?
    • Who should attend the meeting?
    • How do you organize the meeting?

Stage Gate Review Process

slide18

Redirect

Continue

A

A

G

Hold

Kill

How do we decide what the decision will be? - Continue? - Redirect? - Hold? - Kill?

Let’s lookinside of a gate

Stage Gate Review Process

slide19

Is thisa “good”project?

All information needed?

Whatis itspriority?

Yes

Yes

High

Continue

No

No

Low

Kill

Re-Direct

Hold

Three-Step Decision Process: Ask questions in this order.

Does this project make

business sense:~ Strategically?~ Financially?~ Technically?

Has the team

completed all

outputs in a

quality fashion?

What is the impact relative to other projects?

Are people and money available?

Stage Gate Review Process

slide20

Purpose of Stage Gate Review Meeting:

  • Stage gate reviews…
    • Are business decision meetings
      • Are not project reviews
        • Are not design reviews
          • Are not performance reviews
  • A key advantage of a well-deigned and well-executed stagegate process is that it makes the engineer/technologists anintegral contributor to business decisions.
  • This is absolutely essential in technology-driven businesses.

About picking the projects that will have the biggest impact on your business

Stage Gate Review Process

slide21

PetProjects

  • Purpose of Gate Review Meeting:
  • Picking “winner” projects and killing “losers”.
  • For “winners”, this is about:
    • Making an investment decision (where to put money),
    • Allocating and committing resources (where to put people),
    • Assessing potential of project (all info needed to make good decision), not quality of project or product,
    • Assessing risk of project (but “winner” may be high or low).

Stage Gate Review Process

slide22

Suppliers (V):Asking for next project

Executors (R):Running thecurrent project

Customers (V):Receiving next project outputs

StageGateReview

Experts (R):Validating project deliverables

Investors (V):Paying* for next project

Who Should Attend the Review?

R = RecommendV = Vote* = “Paying” means providing money and/or peopleNote: a particular individual may play more than one role.

Stage Gate Review Process

slide23

Typical Stage Gate Review Agenda:

  • 20 min. Executor presentation and recommendation – All participants – Silent listening to presentation No discussion, but clarifying questions allowed.
  • 15 min. General discussion – All participants – Led by non-voting facilitator.
  • 15 min. Voter deliberation – Typically voters only – Led by facilitator.
  • 10 min. Tem briefing on decision and action items – All participants – Led by facilitator.
  • 1 hour Yes, this can, and must, be met!

Stage Gate Review Process

slide24

Gatekeeper Rules of Order

  • “Gatekeepers” are the voters at the stage gatereview meeting.
  • If gate review meetings degenerate tovicious attacks by gatekeepers onproject teams…
  • …then before long you won’t have any new projects!
  • To avoid having this happen, gatekeeper rules of order need to be established and enforced (by review meeting facilitator).

Here are some rules…

Stage Gate Review Process

slide25

Gatekeeper Rules of Order – Page 1

  • Gatekeepers must attend review meeting in-person or virtually, or your vote defaults to “Continue”. A substitute may be sent.
  • Gatekeepers must review team presentation before* the meeting.
  • Serious concerns must be communicated to teams before the meeting. No “surprise attacks” allowed in the meeting.
  • No “cross-examination” allowed during team presentations. You are not trying to “break down the witness” in a courtroom.
    • * Typically the project team sends the gatekeepers a stage gateproject report one week before the stage gate review meeting.

Stage Gate Review Process

slide26

Gatekeeper Rules of Order – Page 2

  • Gatekeepers cannot require information outside of the scope of the stage being reviewed (e.g., can’t require Stage B information at Stage A review).
  • Decisions must be made in accordance with the criteria for the gate, not a gatekeeper’s opinion of the project - no “pet projects”.
  • Final vote must be unanimous. Gatekeepers must be willing to negotiate with other gatekeepers to make a decision.

Stage Gate Review Process

slide27

Gatekeeper Rules of Order – Page 2

  • You can “Hold” a project, but you can’t “Hold” a decision. The decision must be given at the stage gate review meeting. “We will get back to you later” is not allowed.
  • “Continue” decision means that money and resources are committed! This is a promise that the team can actually execute the project!

Stage Gate Review Process

stage gate cultural issues

Stage GateCultural Issues

Stage Gate Review Process

slide29

Impact on Morale

  • So, Stage Gate review is about killing off projects.
  • You start with many small projects and end up with few big projects.
  • This means that you kill off many projects.
  • This can lower the morale of the engineers.
  • You are killing off their great ideas!

Stage Gate Review Process

slide30

Hey! Wait a minute!

I didn’t come here to have some guy tell me how to kill off my projects!

Well…

You are much better off helping kill off your own bad projectsbefore they get out of control…

Than to have someone else kill off your good projectsbecause they ran out of money.

It’s your choice!

Stage Gate Review Process

slide31

The Six Realities of Stage Gate Reviews:

  • Even when you try to do everything correctly,some things will go wrong.
  • Here are six different things to worry about.
  • These tend to be related to:
    • Organizational culture,
    • Human behavior.

Stage Gate Review Process

slide32

The Six Realities of Stage Gate Reviews:

  • You allow resources migrate to last-stage projects, So you can’t start new projects.
  • You don’t kill as many projects as you need to, So you can’t start new projects.
  • You put too many projects on hold due to lack of resources, So your new product pipeline clogs.
  • Stage gate processes slow individual projects down, So people abandon the system.
  • Project teams overwhelm system with info to support project continuation, So excess resources are consumed needlessly.
  • Culture can’t tolerate “failure-driven system”, So project teams refuse to participate.

Final note: There are no magic solutions to these problems!

Stage Gate Review Process

slide33

< 4:1 Attrition

< 4:1 Attrition

Example: Three-Stage Technology Development Project

Goal 1

$10,000

A

How to spend a $10M budget

Number of Projects

Average COSTPer Project

B

C

Early Project Life Late

Stage Gate Review Process

slide34

Reality 1

$10M

~$5M

  • Your boss thinks he is spending all his money on Stage C.
  • But actually, you must balance spending across all three stages.
  • Even though most of the projects will be killed!
  • This takes significant managerial courage.

Stage Gate Review Process

slide35

Goal 2

Kill projects at ~ 4:1 attrition rate.

From the preceding example…

60

Number of Projects

15

4

Early Project Life Late

Stage Gate Review Process

slide36

You always have more Stage B and C projects than you can support, so…

  • You never have enough money or people to start as many Stage A projects as you intend.

Reality

Reality 2

  • You never kill as many as you intend, so…

Goal

Number of Projects

Early Project Life Late

Stage Gate Review Process

slide37

Reality:

  • You never kill as many as you intend,
  • So you never start as many as you intend.

Reality 2

  • Management Perception:
  • Poor Stage Gate Review Process, and/or
  • Incompetent reviewers.
  • But Also:
  • Educational system trains us to never raise our hand unless we have the right answer.
  • There is significant unconscious pre-process screening by project initiators.
  • Many of the small projects at the front end are really pretty good.
  • Bottom Line:
  • You will have to discipline yourself to kill relatively good projects.

Stage Gate Review Process

slide38

Goal 3

  • You want to have a good balance among the various Stage Gate Review decisions.
  • You do not want the system clogged up with projects on Hold.
  • Here’s a possible example of stage gate targets…

< 4:1 attrition target

Stage Gate Review Process

slide39

Reality 3

  • Excessive number of projects put on hold due to lack of resources.
  • This clogs up system with things that you will probably never get around to anyway!
  • This is “lottery ticket management”.

At some point,you must kill these!

Stage Gate Review Process

slide40

Lottery Ticket Management:

Hey! You never know!

This this lottery ticket (or project) might be worth $100,000,000!

But it probably isn’t,

So kill it already!

If you want to play lottery ticket project management,

Then use your product development funds to buy lottery tickets,

The odds are better!

Stage Gate Review Process

slide41

Stage Gate Development Process

I1

A1

A2

A3

O2

I2

O1

G1

G2

Stage Gate ReviewProcess

Always use the Stage Gate processfor every project..

Goal 4

Stage Gate Review Process

slide42

Stage Gate Reviews will slow projects down!

  • Reviews are sequential events scheduled at specific times and attended by particular individuals, usually very busy individuals.
  • Reviews usually grouped in bunches to accommodate reviewers.
  • There may be significant project delays while waiting for the project’s next gate review.
  • This does slow things down.

Reality 4

  • But killing bad projects earlier in the project ultimately frees up resources that would have been wastedon weak projects.
  • So, projects slow down, but overall throughput increases.
  • If you don’t believe this, read The Goal, by Eli. Goldratt.

Stage Gate Review Process

slide43

Reality 4

  • Long-Term Impact…
  • If you are going to do Stage Gate,
    • Then everyone has to play by the rules.
  • If people start going around the system for personal advantage,
    • The system will collapse.
  • Some projects will suffer,
    • But in the long run everyone benefits.

Stage Gate Review Process

slide44

Goal 5

  • In Stage Gate, you provide exactly the information that you needexactly when you need it.
  • Whole idea is to spend as little money and time as possible to make a good (not perfect) decision.
  • Goal:
    • Never spend one penny more than what you need to get through the gate.
    • Never spend one second more than you need.
  • This is the “survive and advance” mentality.
    • You only need one more goal than your opponent to win.

Stage Gate Review Process

slide45

Reality 5

  • Big mental shift:
    • This goes against human nature,
    • Especially for engineers, who are taught to be highly risk-adverse.
    • Tendency on part of engineers is to overwhelm decision-makers with too much information to justify continuing with the project.
    • But here, you provide exactly the information that you needexactly when you need it.
    • This takes courage on the part of the project team!

Stage Gate Review Process

slide46

< 4:1 Attrition

< 4:1 Attrition

Goal: Most projects are killed – best are preserved

Goal 1

A

Number of Projects

Average COSTPer Project

B

C

Early Project Life Late

Stage Gate Review Process

slide47

Reality 6

  • The vast majority of projects will be killed.
  • People will see this as:
    • Personal failure – My project was killed, I must be a bad engineer,
    • Disruptive and unsatisfying - Constantly starting new projects – never “finishing” anything.
    • Threat at performance review time – - What am I being judged on? - What is “success”? What is “failure”? - What is “excellence”?
    • Threat to job security – Constantly killing projects implies an insecure position.
  • This is the ultimate cultural challenge of Stage Gate!

Stage Gate Review Process